How joining the Front team in Paris brought me home

Gauthier Favier

Gauthier Favier,

Product Designer

2 August 20220 min read

After 6 years in Australia working at multiple startups, I came home to Paris and started working for Front. It was probably the best decision I ever made.

The great thing about home is that it feels good to leave, but it feels even better to come back. When I came back to Paris and started with Front I knew it was the best decision for my career. Now that I’m here and thriving in my role, let me take you back to what led me to come home. 

Where it all started 

It all started six years ago. I was 25 years old, young, frivolous, and open to the world. I needed to spread my wings and discover new horizons, so I grabbed my backpack, hopped on a plane, and I left Paris to move to sunny Sydney, Australia. I was immediately hooked. Seduced by the lifestyle, I settled down on the warm sands of Bondi Beach and proceeded to work my way through four tech companies, rising from Junior to Senior Product Designer in six years. 

And then, as suddenly as the feeling had come before, I started longing for yet another lifestyle, craving a higher level of personal development. I also felt I needed to explore new ways of working and experience different company cultures. This coincided with a growing urge I had to go back to my roots. 

Back to my roots

Imagine how apprehensive I was. Coming from the Aussie tech scene and its fairly open, totally transparent culture with tons of benefits, I was wondering if I could ever find a similar opportunity in Europe, especially one with such a perfect work-life balance. I had quite of few interviews but none that I really felt positive about; none that made me feel that little je ne sais quoi of excitement I had in Australia. I was almost wondering if coming home would be the right choice.

But one interview got me. One so well-crafted you could actually feel the care they put into the process. And that one was at Front, a tech company, somewhere between Californian surf and French baguette, right in the heart of Paris.

From the moment I started the interview process, I was immediately struck by the conversation-like tone combined with purpose and efficiency. 

Surprisingly enough the interview was remote, but I still felt like I had them right in front of me. I wasn’t even hired yet and could already put a lot of trust in everyone I met somehow. I could see how much they cared about their own job which made me instantly think, “Yeah, this has something, this gotta be the place!”

The second I got the job offer I started getting congratulatory emails from Fronteers (that’s what we call ourselves) that I hadn’t even met yet, who further convinced me to join the team.

Now three months in, I can see that Front has something unique in its roots. Mathilde and Laurent, the two French founders, have brewed a unique culture between San Francisco and Paris and (other locations like Dublin and Chicago) combining high standards, passion, and care for others. I get to work with extremely talented people with tons of experience nurtured from different horizons and some from well-known companies.

Immediate impact

As a Product Designer, I’m involved in all sorts of meetings with approachable senior leaders who not only expect me to contribute, but also encourage me to do so. Front has built a low-ego work environment where I can further develop my potential amongst my peers, and help them develop theirs.

These meaningful connections don’t just happen in the office. Not long after my first week, I got to meet with the Front Parisian team at a bistro next to the office. The first person I met was Laurent Perrin, our CTO, and co-founder. He was very congenial and we had a passionate conversation about a project I was about to start working on. Today, that first bistro conversation is still bearing fruit.  

When I joined, I was surprised to see that they put me on a large initiative; developing a feature that would help our admins scale their automation like never before. I spent 3 months deep diving in automation, admins, and did a bunch of user interviews to catch up on the knowledge I was lacking. I strived to deliver my best, include the team in my every decision, and show I could develop the best from the very start. I quickly moved from not knowing anything to feeling perfectly at ease with our users and my team, and able to deliver the features we were all waiting for.

Laurent’s interest in the project made me raise my own expectations and standards. The fact that I had just joined the company and was not yet a veteran didn’t bother him. Like with other teammates, he doesn’t care whether you’re fresh out of school or an experienced engineer; he’ll just as eagerly dig into the subject to help develop the best product for our customers. And this, among other things, really makes me understand that the work we do really does matter and makes a difference.

Beyond the job, the perks!

As with all Fronteers, Front invests in my own personal growth and well-being with external mentorships, like work and life coaches, mental health apps, and gym memberships. I also have access to English coaches that I can use to develop my communication skills. In addition to these, Front implemented Flexible Friday: one special day a week with minimal internal communication and nothing to distract you from focusing on what’s important to you. This gives us all just the right amount of flexibility and autonomy we need to perform and forge ahead

More generally, in France, you also have many advantages you won’t find in other countries. As such Front, has top-notch partners for free additional health insurance and childcare. Young parents also get 12 weeks of parental leave, and everybody has 7 weeks of paid holidays. And, the icing on the cake, let’s not forget the sweet lunch vouchers you can use in all those delicious Parisian bistros.

À la carte work-life balance

So hey, when it comes right down to it and you feel ready to take the big plunge, don’t hesitate, come on over, there are lots of places in the City of Lights just dying to welcome you and offer you the right combination of hard work and good times. But let’s face it, none can compare to Front, and we hire year-round. Check out our open roles!

Written by Gauthier Favier

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